US 'Asia pivot' to help defend Philippines - DFA chief


Posted at Jan 24 2013 07:48 PM | Updated as of Jan 25 2013 03:48 AM

MANILA - The Obama administration's decision to focus the deployment of US military forces  to Asia will help secure the Philippines, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Albert del Rosario said.

In a briefing on Wednesday for US and Philippine businessmen led by former US Ambassador to the Philippines John Negroponte and tycoon Manuel Pangilinan, del Rosario said that as the sole treaty ally of the Philippines, the US is the country's strongest partner in defense and security.

The Obama administration's "Asia Pivot" assures peace and stability in the region, the DFA said in a statement Thursday after the briefing. 

It added that the Philippine-US alliance allows Manila to develop a "minimum credible defense posture" involving maritime awareness and deterrence through joint training exercises between troops of the 2 countries.

Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Cesar Purisima (Finance) and Gregory Domingo (Trade and Industry) also attended the briefing for US-Philippines Society chairpersons Negroponte and Pangilinan.

Del Rosario said the Aquino administration has 3 foreign policy objectives: enhancing national security, promoting economic diplomacy and protecting Filipinos overseas.

The briefing also discussed the latest developments in the West Philippine Sea, specifically the "notification and statement of claim" filed by the Philippines against China.

Del Rosario expressed hope that "the peaceful and friendly approach to the legal option would provide the durable solution to this dispute."

The DFA did not say if specific questions were made by Pangilinan, who chairs Philex Mining that has a contract to explore for oil and gas in disputed waters of the West Philippine Sea.